Iran nuclear talks: New plan barely masks failure
A 'tense' and 'tough' round of Iran nuclear talks ends in Moscow without a compromise, but fearing the fallout from a collapse in negotiations, world powers set a new round for July.
(Page 2 of 2)
The failure of the two sides to find any common ground was already sending jitters trough the global energy market, with oil prices ticking upward. But the stalemate seemed certain to further complicate the already prickly Iran issue for President Obama.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
On one side, foreign policy hawks will almost certainly declare the bankruptcy of Mr. Obama’s diplomatic approach to Iran – which they will say is masterfully playing the world for time to achieve nuclear weapons capability – and will call for tougher measures on Iran and even closer cooperation with Israel on the issue.
On the other hand, dovish foreign-policy advocates will chide Obama for failing to calm the winds of war by refusing a compromise with Iran. Already the commentator Robert Wright, writing in The Atlantic, says Obama, by refusing any compromises, is drifting toward war with Iran out of fear of the pro-Israel lobby.
Pressure is certain to mount on the administration to walk away from the talks – especially now that Iran has rejected the world powers’ “stop, shut, and ship” trio of demands. Already on Friday, a near-majority of US senators sent Obama a letter demanding the administration drop the talks and proceed to even tougher economic sanctions if the Moscow talks failed to secure a set of commitments from Iran on curbing its nuclear program.
“It is past time for the Iranians to take the concrete steps that would reassure the world that their nuclear program is, as they claim, exclusively peaceful,” 44 senators said Friday in a bipartisan letter coordinated by Sens. Robert Menendez (D) of New Jersey and Roy Blunt (R) of Missouri. “Absent these steps, we must conclude that Tehran is using the talks as a cover to buy time as it continues to advance toward nuclear weapons capability.”
Echoing the world powers and the three key demands they presented to Iran in the talks, the senators said the stop, shut, and ship trio of demands was the “absolute minimum” Iran would have to accept to justify any continuation of diplomacy.
The announcement of a July meeting of low-level officials representing Iran and the six world powers is unlikely to quiet congressional demands for even tougher constraints on Iran’s oil trade. At the same time, the failure in Moscow will almost certainly renew talk of US-assisted Israeli air strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Opponents of further negotiations with Iran are likely to cite Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has repeatedly warned the Iranians that the US is “not interested in talks for talks’ sake.”
And with a presidential campaign heating up, American voters should expect to hear growing talk of an “October surprise” and what an attack on Iran would mean for the electoral outcome in November.